The Darkest Evening of the Year

Narrated by: Kirsten Kairos
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,494 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With each of his number-one New York Times best-sellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten listeners with novels that capture the essence of our times, even as they bring us to the edge of our seats. Now he delivers a heart-gripping tour de force he's been waiting years to write - at once a love story, a thrilling adventure, and a masterwork of suspense that redefines the boundaries of primal fear and of enduring devotion.

Amy Redwing has dedicated her life to the Southern California organization she founded to rescue abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Among dog lovers, she's a legend for the risks she'll take to save an animal from abuse. Among her friends, Amy's heedless devotion is often cause for concern. To widower Brian McCarthy, whose commitment she can't allow herself to return, Amy's behavior is far more puzzling and hides a shattering secret.

No one is surprised when Amy risks her life to save Nickie, nor when she takes the female golden into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents: An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion. And the unmistakable sense that someone is watching Amy's every move, and that, whoever it is, he's not alone.

Someone has come back to turn Amy into the desperate, hunted creature she's always been there to save. But now there's no one to save Amy and those she loves.

From its breathtaking opening scene to its shocking climax, The Darkest Evening of the Year is Dean Koontz at his finest.

©2007 Dean Koontz (P)2007 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With a magician's expertise, Koontz sets his multiple story lines spinning forward, jumping from one cliffhanger to the next....[T]his is a compulsively readable book that inexorably pulls the reader along." ( The Boston Globe)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Dean's got his groove back

I've "read" many of Dean Koontz's books, some good, some not so good and then there's this one. Probably one of, if not the best one so far. The story line kept me interested all the way through. I listen to the books in my car and found myself sitting there listening to this book well after getting to many of my destinations. I liked the dog in this book as much as Christopher Snow's dog in 'Fear Nothing'. By the way, where is Christopher Snow?

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story

This book is one of my new favorite Dean Koontz novels.

The narrator did a fantastic job, one of the best narration jobs I've heard.

Dean does an excellent job of weaving a fantastic tale with characters keeps you entertained and makes you want to countinue to listen in intrest.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars


This is the first audio book That I have listened to. The story seemed slow to me and hard to concentrate. I drive for a living and once I got to know the characters it was very hard to pause the audio to do my deliveries. Nikkie was a fantastic Dog. How a person can come up with a story with so many different characters then tie them all up at the end was beyond belief. Thank you for a wonderful story.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

never a dull moment

kept my interest until the last work. Has alotof supernatural stuff in it and edge of your seatstuff. I appreciate any bood where the dog is made the hero he really is. you will not be disapointed in this one

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars


I have to admit I'm one of the Biggest Dean Koontz fans and this one was a bit hard for me to read. Unless you are a huge dog fan, and can handle the switch from reality to supernatural almost at books end, then it's tough to get through. I still Loooove the Man, though. Dean is the best author out there, so far!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Rescuers Dream

I have never read a Koontz book until this one caught my eye. He has certainly done his homework into the world of dog rescue which he intertwined into the heart pounding story in this book. I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion as he described in detail the life of a dog rescuer and the happiness and sorrows that come with that life.

Even if you've never rescued an animal you will enjoy this book. It's touching and exciting and holds your interest right up to the last sentence

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

not just about dogs

I have read a lot of Koontz and was a bit skeptical, seeing that Golden Retriever on the cover page....thinking maybe this is going to be real bad, real corny and all that (especially since Koontz' dog just died.)
But surprise surprise. after reading many reviews on this book on amazon as well, I think it's time someone steps up and mentions that this book is not really about dogs and dog rescue, though though this plays a certain role.

there is actually something like a plot as well, and I was really really impressed by "moon girl", the novel's most shining character and villain, I am not saying that she is the most vicious koontz-creation ever, since there are so many, but she is certainly second to none. the way koontz fleshes out the character there is a super dangerous and also erotic charge emanating from this character, very interesting. and the villain a woman, that's quite rare. Big plus.

amy the dog-fanatic and rescuer has an interesting story to tell as well - and guess what: there are supernatural elements in this story. and there's lots of really brutal sadistical people after her and her boy-friend.

so don't be too concerned, this is not all "cutsy" stuff (though some of it). it is, however, a light and good suspenseful read, way better than I had thought it would be. the ending is in my opinion completely ridiculous, and I am wondering if he screwed it up on purpose, but this story does not really need a clever ending, it's just not that type of read where you just can't wait for a ingenious conclusion. the ending is silly but it doesn't really matter with this book. will most certainly entertain you.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Sub Par for Koontz

I have listened to every Zoontz book on Audible. There is no bigger fan. This book was bad. It makes me suspect he is using a ghost writer, and a bad one at that. His usual wordy, vivid descriptions were taken to the extreme. The plot was typical, but weak and the story moved at a snail's pace. I had to force myself to finish this one, and usually I have to tear myself away from Koontz' work. I recomend you do not waste your money on this one.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Please get back to story

Deus ex machina?
This was the most horrible Koontz I've heard, and the narrators cutsey ways did nothing to enhance the story.
Very difficult to stomach, his subject matter gets darker and more vicious all of the time.
I listened to the whole thing, always hoping that it would finally get to the story, but unfortunately it never did.
I am so sorry to say I may never pick out another Koontz to listen to.
Perhaps if I actually read this one, the narrators ways were that distracting

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I want a Golden Retriever.

Ok so I've loved the breed ever since I met one that was serving as a guide dog for a close friend. Quite apart from the fact that they have amazing fur that's perfect for running fingers through, I've noticed that as a breed they're inteligent and gentle. If I ever get a guide dog I'm going to shoot for a Golden.
This book interested me from the day it was announced, and having been a fan of Koontz for years and never having found a book of his I actually didn't like I decided to give this one a try. While it's true that narrator Kirsten Kairos doesn't necessarily do the best job with the male characters I'm glad they chose a female narrator since the protagonist is a woman. True they could have done what a lot of companies sometimes do and have a man narrate the parts told from a man's point of view (the latter Twilight novels do this), but overall I liked Kairos' presentation. She has an uncanny ability to portray child characters.
The story centers on Amy Redwing, a thirty-something-ish California woman who owns Golden Heart, an organization that rescues abused Golden Retrievers, rehabilitates them and places them in what she calls "forever homes." After taking in an unusual Golden Retriever named Nickie, rescued from the home of a man who abuses his wife and children, Amy suddenly finds herself the target of a series of disturbing incidents that raise memories of a terrible past she's worked hard to suppress. Meanwhile her boyfriend Brian McCarthy becomes disturbed by her behavior, but he has his own problems as told by a series of hateful Emails from a woman from his own past. And, by his association with Amy, Brian is also a target of the ones who seek to reduce Amy to the very thing she struggles to save. Other characters include a group of synical assassins and a Down's Syndrome girl leading a tortured existence behind the closed doors of her mother's home. As usual, Koontz delivers a masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful